Original article|Articles in Press

Plasma short-chain fatty acid changes after bariatric surgery in patients with severe obesity

Published:January 30, 2023DOI:


      • 1.Bariatric surgery induces changes in the short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) profile.
      • 2.Straight SCFA are reduced after bariatric surgery, while branched SCFA increased.
      • 3.Changes in SCFA levels are associated with weight loss.
      • 4.Increased levels of branched SCFA are associated with improved insulin sensitivity.



      Obesity has reached epidemic dimensions in recent decades. Bariatric surgery (BS) is one of the most effective interventions for weight loss and metabolic improvement in patients with obesity. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are gut microbiota-derived metabolites with a key role in body weight control and insulin sensitivity. Although BS is known to induce significant changes in the gut microbiota composition, its impact on the circulating levels of certain metabolites produced by the gut microbiota such as SCFA remains poorly understood.


      To determine the impact of BS on the circulating SCFA levels in patients with severe obesity.


      University hospital.


      An observational, prospective study was performed on 51 patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Plasma samples were collected at baseline (1 day before surgery) and at 6 and 12 months after BS. Plasma SCFA levels were determined by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry.


      The results revealed significant changes in the circulating levels of SCFA after BS. A marked increase in propionate, butyrate, isobutyrate, and isovalerate levels and a decrease in acetate, valerate, hexanoate, and heptanoate levels were observed 12 months after BS. Furthermore, the changes in the levels of propionate, butyrate, and isobutyrate negatively correlated with changes in body mass index, while those of isobutyrate correlated negatively with changes in the homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance index.


      These results suggest that propionate, butyrate, and isobutyrate levels could be related to weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity in patients with severe obesity after BS.


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